By Hamil R. Harris, Special to the AFRO
Prince George’s County residents are poised to elect a new generation of lawmakers who political analysts and community leaders say represent a partial rebuke of the country’s old political guard who many say have grown out of touch with the needs of ordinary people.
Former NAACP President Ben Jealous beat Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker for the largest prize in the Maryland Democratic primary that also saw voters go to the polls to help State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks defeat former Congresswoman Donna Edwards and Calvin Hawkins win the Democratic nomination for a new at-large seat on the Prince George’s County Council.
“Jealous represents more youthful progressive insurgency politics unlike Rushern Baker who was more of a traditional moderate,” said Alvin Thornton, a veteran political science professor, who added if the Democrats are to win in November they will need help from the disciples of U.S. Sen. Bernard Sanders. “If not they can learn lessons from former Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend or former Lt Governor Anthony Brown.”
Alsobrooks ascribed her win to voters’ desire for a brighter future.
“Thank you so much to the people of Prince George’s County,” she said during her victory celebration at the Hotel at the University of Maryland. “We believe in our future. We believe that we can grow. Prince Georgians believe in Prince George’s County.”
While many say that Hogan will be hard to be beat because Jealous has never held an elected office, the gubernatorial candidate reminded reporters in Baltimore on June 26 that Hogan never held office before he was elected governor of Maryland and some observers say that Jealous will definitely take Hogan on about a range of issues.
In terms of the new political kids on the block, former Clerk of the County Court Sydney Harrison won the District 9 council seat. Harrison was a product of a sexual assault on his mother but he has never shied away from his story while speaking as a motivational speaker.
And in one of the biggest surprises of the night, former Maryland State Del. Joseph Vallario Jr. was defeated by former school board member Ron L. Watson for seat 23B in the Maryland House of Delegates.
Rev. Henry Davis, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Highland Park, said the election Tuesday night is a new milestone from Maryland to New York, where a 28-year-old woman defeated a veteran Democrat.
“It is a very exciting season a season of possibilities,” Davis said. “It’s a new chapter with new persons. It is way to shape the future in Prince George’s County and in the state of Maryland. People are rising to political promise out of nowhere.”